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Vendors Stuck with $100,000 Tab After (NAACP) Soiree (Milwaukee, WI)
JSOnline ^ | August 10, 2005 | Meg Kissinger

Posted on 08/10/2005 4:36:52 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin

(Fewer than 100 came to event held during NAACP convention)

A month after a lavish event to honor local African-American women during the NAACP convention in Milwaukee, several local vendors involved have been left with bills totaling more than $100,000.

The event, planned in anticipation of more than 12,000 visitors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People convention, was put together by Grace Valentine, a local party planner. The party was not part of any official NAACP convention activities.

Oprah Winfrey's mother, Venita Lee, was to be the featured guest, along with 17 other high-profile Milwaukee women, including U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Valerie Daniels Carter and Vel Phillips.

The soiree was opulence extraordinaire: a sit-down dinner for 500 at the Milwaukee Art Museum's dramatic atrium featuring shrimp papaya salad, Hoisin-glazed beef short ribs, a fashion show with New York models, a live band, an open bar and guest speaker Omarosa from "The Apprentice."

Days earlier, Lee said she couldn't come, Valentine said.

And when checks started bouncing before the July 11 event even began, local vendors feared that they would be left empty-handed.

"I should have figured when no one was there at 6 p.m. for an event that started at 6 p.m.," said Vesna Madunic, owner of Gracious Catering, which provided the food.

In the end, fewer than 100 people paid for the dinner, Madunic estimated, and her staff had to toss mounds of untouched shrimp, Ahi tuna and white chocolate mousse in the trash behind the art museum.

"There was nothing we could do to save all that food once it had been heated," Madunic said.

The damage is still being assessed. So far, unpaid bills include Gracious Catering: $70,000; Private Gardener Florist: $4,700; Hotel Metro: $4,572.59 for seven rooms, including room service and restaurant charges. Wauwatosa police are investigating, said Madunic and Valentine. Gracious Catering is in Wauwatosa.

Hotel Metro sued Valentine; she has until today to answer, or a default judgment will likely be entered against her, according to court records.

Valentine said Tuesday that she has not yet paid the art museum, the linen rental company, the business that printed the invitations, the limousine service that transported the models or the musicians. A museum spokesman wouldn't say how much, if any, rent is owed.

Both Madunic and Victoria Vonier, who owns Private Gardener, said they normally check customers' backgrounds before taking on such big orders, but they were impressed with Valentine's intentions to highlight the accomplishments of local women.

"I think she meant well," Madunic said.

Valentine, 49, said she was "only trying to do something nice" and is working on paying her bills. She blames the city for the poor turnout at her event.

"Milwaukee didn't support it," she said. "They said there would be 12,000 in town for the convention. That's false advertising."

Official attendance of delegates and guests was closer to 8,000, NAACP chairman Julian Bond reported just after the convention ended.

That explanation does not assuage the business with outstanding bills.

"She was piggybacking on the convention, trading on the name of the NAACP," Madunic said. "This is a big blow to us financially."

Vonier said she feels duped by Valentine who, Vonier said, referred to herself as a NAACP representative. The first check Valentine gave her bounced, Vonier said. Valentine told her the money would be arriving later that day.

"She told me that she had sponsorship lined up," Vonier said. "I don't like being lied to."

Valentine, a fashion designer who said she is just starting to get in to the party-planning business, said she thought she did have sponsors lined up, but "unfortunately, they fell through."

She said she started the Goddess Awareness Group two years ago to celebrate women.

"There are too many bad images of women today, especially African-American women," Valentine said. "The sexual exploitation is way over the top."

She said she began planning the dinner in February and began to advertise it on her Web site, http://www.thegoddessawarenessgroup.com Tickets ranged from $100 for a seat at the "Athena/Strength" table to $400 for the "Gaia/Abundance" table. The invitation describes it as tax deductible event. Valentine said she collected money for tickets in advance and at the door but couldn't say how much.

"I have it written down somewhere," she said. "I'm not sure where just now."

Valentine says she is upset that she's being investigated for possible criminal charges.

"This was supposed to be a very positive event," she said. "People didn't support it. Is that my fault? No. It really isn't. I put myself on the line. It's not like I stole this money."

Planning for the event began with high hopes, she said.

Valentine said she went on public television to try and generate interest but did not advertise in any newspapers or on commercial radio or television.

"I was counting on word of mouth from this big convention we were supposed to have," she said.

The "celebration" began at 6 p.m. with hors d' oeuvres. At 7 p.m., the fashion show began. Dinner was served at 8 p.m., followed by Omarosa's remarks. Music was provided by The Real Deal and Tori Green of New York.

Valentine said she has learned a valuable lesson from the whole experience: "People don't have a lot of money."

She said she hoped to recoup her losses and pay her bills by selling some clothes from her fashion line and perhaps to host another event.

"If you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them," she said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: corruptdems; milwaukee; naacp
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"...and her staff had to toss mounds of untouched shrimp, Ahi tuna and white chocolate mousse in the trash behind the art museum."

Wow. They couldn't find a SINGLE Food Pantry or Soup Kitchen in ALL of Milwaukee, WI to donate the food? How's that for helpin' out your Sistah Goddesses that are down on their luck? ;)

1 posted on 08/10/2005 4:36:53 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I'm still not sure what the @$#@) the appeal was supposed to be. Oprah's mom?


2 posted on 08/10/2005 4:40:54 PM PDT by atomicpossum (Replies should be as pedantic as possible. I love that so much.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

They should accept the loss as their contribution to the cause.....fightin "the man".....for solidarity....right on.


3 posted on 08/10/2005 4:42:38 PM PDT by commonasdirt (Reading DU so you won't hafta)
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To: All
"There are too many bad images of women today, especially African-American women," Valentine said.

And now they can thank you Ms. Valentine, for contributing to that image!

4 posted on 08/10/2005 4:45:26 PM PDT by michaelbfree
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

"Goddess Awareness Group" Unintentioned acronym is GAG.


5 posted on 08/10/2005 4:45:44 PM PDT by Hack
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Both Madunic and Victoria Vonier, who owns Private Gardener, said they normally check customers' backgrounds before taking on such big orders, but they were impressed with Valentine's intentions to highlight the accomplishments of local women.

"I think she meant well," Madunic said.

Bwahahaha! Something about the road to hell comes to mind..

6 posted on 08/10/2005 4:46:24 PM PDT by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
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To: Hack

GAG! Ha! Ha! Nice catch!


7 posted on 08/10/2005 4:47:33 PM PDT by Orbiting_Rosie's_Head
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

$70,000 catering dollars divided by an anticipated crowd of 500 people is $140 per person. And they sold tickets for $100ea. What lamebrain came up with this idea? It was doomed to fail before it started!


8 posted on 08/10/2005 4:47:51 PM PDT by MadelineZapeezda (If you right click on Madeline Albright's image, my name should show up!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

"There are too many bad images of women today..."


Pinging the irony meter!




9 posted on 08/10/2005 4:48:10 PM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: commonasdirt

This is hilarious.....except for the poor dupes that got stiffed by the perp. Why didn't the hostess invite people in from homeless shelters to eat the left over delicasies? What a waste!


10 posted on 08/10/2005 4:48:28 PM PDT by Jrabbit
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Must ... [chortle] ... control ... [guffaw] ... schadenfreude ...


11 posted on 08/10/2005 4:49:06 PM PDT by IronJack
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To: Hack

ROFL!!


12 posted on 08/10/2005 4:49:06 PM PDT by Jrabbit
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To: MadelineZapeezda

No....some tickets were $400. For a seat at the big girl table. LOL


13 posted on 08/10/2005 4:50:44 PM PDT by Jrabbit
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To: atomicpossum

Oprah will pay. She will. If her Mom was advertised as the featured guest, and then she backed out, it's only right.


14 posted on 08/10/2005 4:51:21 PM PDT by Hildy ("When you want something you've never had, you've got to do something you've never done.")
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

There may be laws against that. A lot of restaurants can't donate left over food in many circumstances.


15 posted on 08/10/2005 4:54:06 PM PDT by nickcarraway (I'm Only Alive, Because a Judge Hasn't Ruled I Should Die...)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Diana in Wisconsin

In defense of the caterers, it is against most city food service ordinances to give this kind of food away. Food that is cooked and plated must either be eaten at the event or thrown out. There are too many problems with food spoilage to try to save it for anyone else. It is also likely their business liability insurance requires them to either serve it at the event it was made for or trash it.


17 posted on 08/10/2005 4:58:05 PM PDT by nhoward14
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To: Hildy
I hope Omarosa didn't eat too much shrimp. She probably asked for a huge doggy bag.

I guess her 15 minutes of fame is over if only 100 people showed up to see her speak.
18 posted on 08/10/2005 4:58:50 PM PDT by BigBobber
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

You GO Girl!

No
Wait
come Back....


19 posted on 08/10/2005 5:00:21 PM PDT by txroadhawg (Don't believe any statistics unless you made them up yourself)
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To: hugoball

Yes... but it's all done on the hush hush, right? There really is no way to box it all up and send it to Meals on Wheels.


20 posted on 08/10/2005 5:00:47 PM PDT by nhoward14
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To: BigBobber

I wonder if Omarosa made it all the way through her speech or if a piece of fuzz fell from the ceiling in the middle of it forcing her to sit down and rest.


21 posted on 08/10/2005 5:02:13 PM PDT by nhoward14
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
.....several local vendors involved have been left with bills totaling more than $100,000.

Dopes. This is the NAACP fer cryin' out loud.

FMCDH(BITS)

22 posted on 08/10/2005 5:05:33 PM PDT by nothingnew (I fear for my Republic due to marxist influence in our government. Open eyes/see)
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: Diana in Wisconsin

And you can bet that, among all these low-life scam artists, there was not one Republican.


24 posted on 08/10/2005 5:09:22 PM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: nothingnew
Dopes. This is the NAACP fer cryin' out loud.

Actually, it wasn't the NAACP itself. It was a wanna-be 'party planner' trading on their name.

25 posted on 08/10/2005 5:11:21 PM PDT by Bob
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I LOVE THIS LINE....

There are too many bad images of women today, especially African-American women," Valentine said. "The sexual exploitation is way over the top.


That is why she had a fashion show.....that certainly doesnt exploit women for just their looks....


26 posted on 08/10/2005 5:11:39 PM PDT by Walkingfeather
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To: boothead

Stepping over the line there.


27 posted on 08/10/2005 5:12:28 PM PDT by Walkingfeather
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To: MadelineZapeezda
It was doomed to fail before it started!

You only have to calculate in expenses if you plan on paying them.

28 posted on 08/10/2005 5:12:28 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: nickcarraway

Yeah, you're probably right. Besides, all that rich & fattening food...Shrimp, Ahi Tuna, White Chocolate Mousse, would have the leftist Milwaukee Food Police there in a heartbeat, LOL! You can't just feed ANY old thing to hungry people, you know. You've got to comply with the government-contrived Food Pyramid and all that rot. *Rolleyes*

I, however take whatever free bread and foodstuffs I can find around town. (For myself or to give to my chickens.) In fact, I got $28 worth of free Panera breads this week, just for the taking. :)

This country is wasteful and silly. I'm living proof that there is enough to go around for all. *Steps Down Off Soapbox*

Not upset with you, Nick. I'm just angry about the waste I see around me every day...be it some stupidity as in this article, or just everyday businesses failing to plan ahead so there's not so much waste.

That's my story and I'm stickin' with it. Hunger goes beyond politics IMHO, however the left has completely co-opted it for their own personal & political gain.

Ok. I'm done now, LOL! :)


29 posted on 08/10/2005 5:13:11 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: hugoball
I can tell you with complete confidence that there was a bucket brigade around the corner and into the waiting cars of the entire catering wait staf

Having helped with security in many a corporate event, I'm entirely sure that you are correct. I've taken home loads of great food myself. One can eat lunch for days on the leftovers from a large conference, provided the refridgerator at work is large enough.

31 posted on 08/10/2005 5:14:11 PM PDT by jimtorr
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To: hugoball

I believe you and I'm glad to hear it! :)


32 posted on 08/10/2005 5:14:41 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I agree with you. I was just pointing it out because people don't realize how much food is wasted because of certain laws or liability factors.


33 posted on 08/10/2005 5:16:05 PM PDT by nickcarraway (I'm Only Alive, Because a Judge Hasn't Ruled I Should Die...)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
...had to toss mounds of untouched shrimp, Ahi tuna and white chocolate mousse in the trash behind the art museum.

The war on poverty is officially OVER!

34 posted on 08/10/2005 5:16:14 PM PDT by Libloather (Just my luck - Hillary is the smartest person in the Milky Way - and picked MY planet to seek power)
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To: Hildy
If her Mom was advertised as the featured guest, and then she backed out, it's only right.

So I can advertise an event with you as guest speaker, and if you don't show up, I can just send the bill to your family?

35 posted on 08/10/2005 5:16:43 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: nhoward14

When I was in food service, it was (and probably still is) against the law to, for lack of a better word, "reuse" the food.

Employees could get fired if they took leftovers at the end of the evening, the business couldn't take a chance legally.

Which was a real shame because we threw away a lot of very good food, and a lot of employees were poor people.


36 posted on 08/10/2005 5:17:16 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s......you weren't really there.)
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To: Walkingfeather

Have no idea what that means.


37 posted on 08/10/2005 5:18:53 PM PDT by boothead
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To: ChildOfThe60s

Food service is one thing, but events outside the restaurant are entirely different. A lot of stuff gets lost on the way out the door to the dumpster.


38 posted on 08/10/2005 5:19:49 PM PDT by jimtorr
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To: txroadhawg

LOL! ;-)


39 posted on 08/10/2005 5:23:29 PM PDT by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
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To: jimtorr

True. In any case, the vendors take a bath. Which is why, in vendors servicing restaurants don't extend much credit.


40 posted on 08/10/2005 5:25:31 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s......you weren't really there.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

You try and feed that kind of food to a homeless bum and you would probably have some serious diarhea going on!


41 posted on 08/10/2005 5:26:53 PM PDT by montomike (Gay means happy and carefree...not an abomination against nature's check valve.)
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To: PAR35

If she agreed to it, and then backed out, I think it's only right. Is she legallly obligated...no. But I believe she's morallly obligated.


42 posted on 08/10/2005 5:29:45 PM PDT by Hildy ("When you want something you've never had, you've got to do something you've never done.")
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

And when checks started bouncing before the July 11 event even began, local vendors feared that they would be left empty-handed.


Isn't writing a bad check a crime?


43 posted on 08/10/2005 5:34:21 PM PDT by PeterPrinciple (Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: nickcarraway

A lot of restaurants can't donate left over food in many circumstances.

I think it's due more to possible lawsuits than laws.


44 posted on 08/10/2005 5:43:45 PM PDT by jwh_Denver (The government said it? I believe it! Hehe hoho haha!)
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To: PAR35
So I can advertise an event with you as guest speaker, and if you don't show up, I can just send the bill to your family?

I can't speak for Hildy, but I think she was pointing out that Oprah is a generous woman.

45 posted on 08/10/2005 5:59:32 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (God has blessed Republicans with really stupid enemies.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Omarosa was the guest speaker. That should be a tip off. If that nut job is the best that can be found something is out of whack.

IMHO


46 posted on 08/10/2005 6:07:15 PM PDT by em2vn
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
"If you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them," she said.

Get a real job, there's already enough poverty pimps out there that will chew you up and spit you out....... You ain't in their league sweetheart!

47 posted on 08/10/2005 6:13:36 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (What is a homosexual Islamic Jihadist going to do with 72 virgins? Can he give them away?)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Maybe they can get the money from Dead Air America??

Pray for W and Our Freedom Fighters

48 posted on 08/10/2005 6:15:06 PM PDT by bray (Pray for the Freedom of the Iraqis from Islam)
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To: nothingnew
Ever wonder why MLK was staying at a flea bag hotel like the Lorraine in Memphis when just around the corner was the Holiday Inn, at that time a hotel that was state of the art? The former manager of the Holiday Inn refused MLK's entourage the week of April 1968 because every time they had stayed at the Holiday Inn previously, MLK and the NAACP left many bills unpaid.
49 posted on 08/10/2005 6:23:46 PM PDT by vetvetdoug (Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Brices Crossroads, Harrisburg, Britton Lane, Holly Springs, Hatchie Bridge,)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
$4,572.59 for seven rooms, including room service and restaurant charges.

That's a nice deal!

50 posted on 08/10/2005 6:24:54 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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